Friends of Hastings Cemetery
1908 July 23rd – The leading socialist Alf Cobb was fined 2s 6d at Hastings magistrates court for causing an obstruction in the streets at a meeting of street hawkers he had organised in South Terrace on 10 July. Hastings Council was waging a campaign against hawkers (Cobb was one) because they were taking trade from shopkeepers, and 20 had been prosecuted on 9 July.
1910 November 1st – At the municipal elections, the leading Hastings socialist Alf Cobb was defeated by Mr FW Morgan in the St Clements Ward by just 31 votes (394 to 361). Cobb was lifted shoulder high by the crowd of supporters, waving a very crushed bowler hat.
1910 December 6th – Socialist Alf Cobb failed by a small margin to win the Upper St Marys Ward in the municipal election. After the announcement of the result at the town hall, Cobb was lifted shoulder high by an enthusiastic crowd and proceeded to make a procession through the main streets, delivering numerous addresses at street corners.
1911 May 13th – The Observer of this date reported that Alf Cobb, leader of the Social Democratic Party, held a meeting on the seafront at Denmark Place in protest at a new bye-
“There is not the slightest doubt that the majority of councillors have proved themselves unfitted for the task of carrying out the administration of our town.”
Cobb shook the Hastings establishment out of its lethargy, transforming the borough‘s politics in the first decade and a half of the 20th century. He set out to unmask the injustice and corruption so prevalent in Hastings, a relentless task that gained him massive notoriety, and helped influence Robert Tressell’s political perceptions and viewpoint on life in a watering place then undergoing an alarming decline which led to “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist”
Hastings & St Leonards Observer 10th September 1921 p8:
COUNCILLOR COBB DEAD -
MAYOR AND CORPORATION ATTEND FUNERAL
The death occurred on Monday of Councillor Alfred James Cobb, at his residence, 7 Brook Street, at the early age of 47. He had been seriously ill for some weeks, and before his death it was known his condition was such as gave no hope of recovery.
A labour leader, and an avowed Socialist, Councillor Cobb made himself prominent as a bitter opponent of both what he was pleased to call 'Capitalist' parties……. He stood for the St Clement's Ward some years ago, but was defeated. He was, however, elected to represent that ward on the Town Council in November 1920, defeating Councillor F W Morgan. He was the champion of the hawking fraternity, and both in the Town Council and in the Police Court, Alfred Cobb fought for them. He kept alive the controversy which eventually reached a settlement in the recent order regarding hawkers passed by the Council at their last meeting — at which Councillor Cobb was too ill to be present.
He also took a very keen interest in the effort to promote the glass industry from the sand at Fairlight, for the purpose of absorbing the unemployed. This, however, proved a failure, since enquiries shewed the industry would not be a paying proposition. He was on the Committee of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Federation, the local War Pensions Committee, the Employment Committee, and he was Chairman of the Street Traders' Association.
A fighter to the last, Councillor Cobb always supported the 'man beneath'. He never knew fear and would return to the attack in the face of almost certain failure.
Representatives from many organisations connected with ex-
The family mourners were : Mrs. M . Cobb (widow) Miss Florence Cobb (daughter), Mr. J. W. Cobb (father), Mr. Charles Harrison (brother-
Hastings and St Leonards Observer -
COUNCILLOR'S WIDOW ILL. At the suggestion of Councillor Tingle it was unanimously decided to send a letter of sympathy to the widow of the late Councillor Cobb, who was seriously ill.
Hastings and St Leonards Observer -
DEATH OF MBS. COBB.-